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Almost Perfect Perfect Games

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  • Almost Perfect Perfect Games

    Each of the following pitchers was as close to perfection as one could probably get, without actually achieving it. In other words, each pitcher below had a perfect game through eight innings, two outs in the ninth inning, then it came to end:

    Almost Perfect

    July 4, 1908: Hooks Wiltse
    New York Giants (versus the Philadelphia Phillies).
    George McQuillan was hit with a pitch, but ended the game with a 10-inning no-hitter.

    August 5, 1932: Tommy Bridges
    Detroit Tigers (versus the Washington Nationals).
    Dave Harris hit a single.

    June 27, 1958: Billy Pierce
    Chicago White Sox (versus the Washington Senatos).
    Ed Fitz Gerald hit a double.

    September 3, 1972: Milt Pappas
    Chicago Cubs (versus the San Diego Padres).
    Larry Stahl was walked, but Pappas ended the game with a no-hitter.

    April 15, 1983: Milt Wilcox
    Detroit (at and versus the Chicago White Sox).
    Jerry Hairston hit a single.

    May 2, 1988: Ron Robinson
    Cincinnati (versus the Montreal Expos).
    Wallace Johnson hit a single.

    August 4, 1989: Dave Stieb
    Toronto (versus the New York Yankees).
    Roberto Kelly hit a double.

    April 20, 1990: Brian Holman
    Seattle (versus the Oakland Athletics).
    Ken Phelps hit a home run.

    September 2, 2001: Mike Mussina
    New York Yankees (at and versus the Boston Red Sox).
    Carl Everett hit a single.

    Enjoy & if another one happens, send me an email & I'll update the list.

    "Baseball Almanac: Sharing Baseball. Sharing History."

    PS: My apologies for not posting exclusives as often as I should. My work over on Baseball Almanac has bit a bit overwhelming the last couple months.

  • #2
    Ah, memories! I remember listening to Mussina's game on ESPN radio. I can't say I wasn't rooting for him.
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    • #3
      Sadly I can't say that I saw or heard any of them. The one I did see, but didn't qualify was Kevin Brown's no-hitter when he was still with the Florida Marlins. Had a perfect game into the 9th then hit somebody (boy my memory is bad, think he was a SF Giant) in the foot with a pitch. Think there was either no outs or one out at the time...


      PS: If you have ever wondered why Baseball Almanac is 35,000+ pages long, its because I have a lot of things I want to remember but obviously can't


      • #4
        I remember that I was devoting myself to watching the Mussina game because I thought it would be a good game and I had nothing else to do. Turns out his was the actual CLOSEST you can get to a Perfect game without getting it, one strike away. Oh well, I loved watching the game. The one thing people don't remember is that had Mussina not pitched so well, David Cone woulda been the star. No runs till the 8th inning when he was taken out. I also think it was perfect for both teams through 4 or something. Great game, I'm glad I decided to watch it...


        • #5
          A friend and I were talking about "semi-perfect games"...that is, no-hitters where the pitcher faced the minimum 27 batters. Does anyone know how many times this has happened, if any?


          • #6

            This is a more "near-perfect" game than the rest on the list IMO. Pedro had a perfect game through 9, but gave up a lead-off hit in the tenth.
            "Endlessly deferred redemption provides, paradoxically enough, its own kind of reward... It tests our faith and marks us as spiritually stronger than other fans for whom entrance into heaven is a far cheaper thing."
            -Scott Stossel


            • #7
              I'm pretty sure in the last two years, someone gave up a hit that was doubled off and he saw the minimum 27 batters, but it wasn't a no hitter.
              "Endlessly deferred redemption provides, paradoxically enough, its own kind of reward... It tests our faith and marks us as spiritually stronger than other fans for whom entrance into heaven is a far cheaper thing."
              -Scott Stossel


              • #8
                Right...the Mets did it earlier this season during their one-hit spree versus the Marlins...but I have yet to hear about a case where a no-hitter was thrown AND the pitcher faced the minimum number of batters.

                Thanks for your input.


                • #9
                  Aren't you forgetting Mike Mussina when he was with the Orioles and he almost threw a perfect game against the Cleveland indians?????? But Sandy Alomar Junior got that hit.
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                  • #10
                    The Mussina game you are referring to was broken up with one out in the ninth.

                    Counting the game against the Red Sox, Mussina has come within a total of 3 outs of hurling two perfect games.


                    • #11
                      Reverse Almost Perfect Game?

                      Reading the thread about the Almost Perfect Games (pitchers that had two outs in the ninth inning, but lost a perfect game) reminded me of what I like to call a Reverse Almost Perfect Game.

                      On May 19th, 1981, Jim Bibby of the Pittsburgh Pirates gave up a lead-off single to Terry Harper of the Atlanta Braves. Bibby the retired the next 27 batters! What a shame he didn't get Harper!

                      May 19th, 1981: Pittsburgh 5, Atlanta 0


                      • #12
                        I was watching pieces of Milt Pappas' no-no/near perfect game at the broadcast museum in Chicago recently.The 3-2 pitch to Larry Stahl was borderline and home plate ump Bruce Froemming called it a ball.Pappas was barking at Froemming,then proceeded to get the next batter to pop out to second baseman Carman Fanzone to preserve the no-hitter.

                        Years later,Pappas was interviewd by then Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier about the no-no,and he still thinks Bruce Froemming squeezerd him in the 9th.It got better,Brandmeier got Bruce Froemming on the phone and him and Pappas were still arguing the call,some 25 years later.It was riveting radio.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Commissioner
                          The Mussina game you are referring to was broken up with one out in the ninth.

                          Counting the game against the Red Sox, Mussina has come within a total of 3 outs of hurling two perfect games.
                          Actually, it was 2 outs in the 9th, and Moose was a single strike away from getting his perfecto at Fenway.

                          I don't know if it was Jimy Williams or Joe Kerrigan (probably JK), but he'd had Carl Everett in to PH as the final hope. It was a single to LF, which made Moose *very* nervous, as it was a 1-run game. Had Everett gotten out, David Cone would likely have been the only MLB pitcher to have been on both ends of a perfecto.

                          Was the other with Baltimore? I don't remember that one at all.
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                          • #14
                            what an idiot

                            i remember the pappas game as a kid. it says alot about froemming--if i guy takes a close pitch in that situation---ring him up, for god's sake. also el bruceo blow a call that would have been an all time highlight reels. black friday for the phils vs l.a. in playoffs. ball hit like a rocket off scmitty's leg deflects to bowa who barehands ball in the air---throws seed to the "hacker" at 1st,---BUT BIG BRUCE BLOWS THE CALL!!!!!
                            Last edited by rich; 10-26-2003, 12:27 PM.
                            Whitey Ashburn's free plug on radio when he was hungry...." Happy birthday to the Celebrese twins....Plain and Pepperoni. "


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by serumgard
                              A friend and I were talking about "semi-perfect games"...that is, no-hitters where the pitcher faced the minimum 27 batters. Does anyone know how many times this has happened, if any?
                              I have put together a list of numerous cases where a pitcher (or pitchers) have faced the minimum number of batters. The only no-hitters in the list are Lew Burdette's gem in 1960 and Terry Mulholland in 1990. In 1997 Mike Grace faced the minimum despite yeilding 3 hits.

                              7/22/27 Red Luces (Cincinnati)
                              Pitched a 3-0 one-hitter against the Dodgers while facing the minimum 27 batters. The "hit" is a 6th inning grounder by Hank DeBerry that goes between the legs of Cincinnati 2B Hughie Critz. No details on how DeBerry was retired.

                              8/18/60 Lew Burdette (Milwaukee Braves)
                              Pitched a no-hitter, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0. Burdette
                              faced the minimum 27 batters. Tony Gonzalez reached first in the fifth after being hit by a pitch and was wiped out in a double play.

                              5/29/80 Bob Welch (Dodgers)
                              Faces the minimum 27 batters in a 3–0 one-hitter against the Braves. The lone Atlanta base runner is Larvell Blanks, who singles in the 4th inning and is erased on a double play.

                              5/22/84 LaMarr Hoyt (White Sox)
                              Faces 27 batters in a 3–0 one-hitter against the Yankees. New York's only hit is Don Mattingly's opposite-field blooper in the 7th inning, which is followed by a double play.

                              4/26/85 Orel Hershiser (Dodgers)
                              Pitches a 2–0 one-hitter against the Padres allowing only 2 runners. Tony Gwynn is picked off first base following a walk in the 1st. Gwynn gets San Diego's lone hit with a 4th-inning single but is caught stealing second by Steve Yeager.

                              9/14/87 Floyd Bannister (Chicago White Sox)
                              Faces the minimum 27 batters in a 2–0 one-hitter against Seattle, striking out 10 while walking none. Harold Reynolds singles in the 3rd but is thrown out by Gary Redus trying to stretch it into a double. Mark Langston pitched a two hitter in defeat.

                              9/21/88 Bob Knepper, (Houston Astros)
                              Pitched a 1-0 one hitter against the Braves. Dale Murphy singled in the 2nd but was caught stealing. In the 9th Albert Hall pinch ran after a Bruce Benedict walk and he too was caught stealing.

                              8/15/90 Terry Mulholland (Phillies)
                              The Phillies Terry Mulholland spins the major leagues' 8th no-hitter of the season. Mulholland faces the minimum 27 batters in blanking the Giants 6–0, as just one runner reaches base on a 7th inning throwing error by Charlie Hayes. Rick Parker is then erased on a double play hit into by Dave Anderson.

                              7/06/90 Jack Morris (Detroit Tigers)
                              In a 4-0 win over the Royals, Morris finishes with a one hitter. The only hit was a single in the first by Kurt Stillwell. Stillwell is erased on a double play by George Brett and Morris retires the next 24 in a row.

                              7/21/90 Tim Belcher (Los Angels Dodgers)
                              Pitched a one hitter against the Pirates allowing just 2 baserunners in a 6-0 victory. In the 4th Jay Bell is caught stealing following a base hit. In the 6th Orlando Merced hits into a double play after Mike LaValliere walked.

                              9/29/92 Denis Rasmussen (Royals)
                              Hurls a one-hit, 2–0 shutout over the Angels while facing 27 batters. Damion Easley's leadoff single in the 4th inning is the only California hit. He is then caught stealing Rasmussen to Joyner to Wilkerson.

                              9/2/97 Mike Grace (Phillies)
                              Grace followed up Schilling's 16-strikeout victory with a three-hitter, facing the minimum 27 batters, to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-0 win over the Yankees. Grace, who got his first major-league win in 15 months last week, allowed a fourth-inning single to Derek Jeter, an eighth-inning single to Paul O'Neill, and a leadoff single to Charlie Hayes in the ninth. Jeter was thrown out stealing, while O'Neill and Hayes were erased in double plays, as Grace got 15 groundball outs in his second career shutout.

                              5/24/01 Jon Lieber (Cubs)
                              Throws one of the best games of his career in a 3-0 victory over the Reds when he needs just 78 pitches to win the one-hit complete-game affair. Juan Casto was the only Cincinnati player to reach base. Lieber faced the minimum 27 batters after getting a double play grounder from Scott Winchester on a botched sacrifice attempt in the sixth to erase Castro's one-out single and a game-ending double play grounder from Ruben Rivera to erase a one-out walk to Castro in the ninth.

                              9/6/01 Woody Williams (Cardinals)
                              Shortstop D'Angelo Jimenez spoiled Williams' perfect-game bid, hitting the first pitch of the seventh inning to center for a single. But the rookie was thrown out at second by Jim Edmonds trying to stretch a single into a double. Ben Davis got the Padres started in the ninth with a single to center. After pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn flied out, pinch-hitter Wiki Gonzalez grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the game.

                              4/26/02 Odalis Perez (Dodgers)
                              Perez was perfect for six innings as Los Angeles beat the Cubs 10-0 Friday at Wrigley, but he wound up with a one-hitter after speedy Corey Patterson beat out a bad-hop infield single leading off the seventh. Chris Stynes then hit into a double play, and Perez faced the minimum 27 batters in his first career shutout.

                              6/17/03 Jae Sao, David Weathers, Armando Benitez (Mets)
                              Jae Sao and two relievers combined on a one-hitter Tuesday as the New York Mets posted a 5-0 triumph over the Florida Marlins. Sao (5-2) did not allow a hit until the fifth inning when Juan Encarnacion singled to left. Following his single, Encarnacion tried to steal second. He appeared to get a hand on the bag before Roberto Alomar applied the tag, but second base umpire Jim Joyce called him out. Sao, who left after 6 2/3 innings with a broken nail on his right index finger, struck out four and did not walk a batter. Weathers pitched 1 1/3 innings before Benitez pitched a perfect ninth.


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